Nelson Mandela International Day: History, Theme, and Significance

OV Digital Desk

Nelson Mandela International Day is celebrated every year on 18 July, Mandela’s birthday. The United Nations officially declared the day in November 2009, with the first UN Mandela Day on 18 July 2010. Mandela Day was first celebrated by other groups on 18 July 2009. It was inspired by Nelson Mandela’s call a year earlier for the next generation to take on the responsibility of addressing social injustice in the world, when he said, “It’s in your hands now”.

A global movement to honor Madiba’s life’s work and to change the world is more than just a celebration of his life and legacy.

Nelson Mandela International Day 2023: Theme

Nelson Mandela International Day theme for 2023 is ‘ “Climate, Food & Solidarity”.

Who was Nelson Mandela?

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born in Transkei, South Africa, on July 18, 1918. Nkosi Mphakanyiswa Gadla Mandela and Nonqaphi Nosekeni were his parents. Jongintaba, the Tembu regent, raised him after his father passed away. There, he was often told stories about the bravery of his ancestors. University College of Fort Hare was where he earned his B.A. Due to his participation in the student protest, he was denied his degree. As a result, he was dismissed from the college. The monarch had threatened to arrange a marriage for him if he did not finish his degree at the Great Place at Mqhekezweni. In response, he fled to Johannesburg, where he worked as a mine security officer. In the end, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Africa. One of the most well-known anti-apartheid activists in South Africa without a doubt.

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As an organizer of nonviolent demonstrations against the white minority government in South Africa, he rose to prominence as a member of the African National Congress party in 1944. From 1964 to 1982, he was detained on Robben Island in Cape Town, South Africa, for his leadership of the liberation movement against apartheid.

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Prisoners on Robben Island were never identified by their names, but only by their numbers. The number 46664 belonged to Mandela. In 1990, he was released from prison and contributed to South Africa’s multiracial democracy. He worked hard to become president of South Africa in 1994. Thus, he became South Africa’s first black president. He held the office of president until 1999. Frederic Willem de Klerk and he shared the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize.

The Elders, an independent organization of world leaders founded by Mandela in 2007, utilize their influence and expertise to support peacebuilding, address the main causes of human suffering, and advance the common goals of humanity.

“It is easy to break down and destroy. The heroes are those who make peace and build.”  ~ Nelson Mandela.

Nelson Mandela International Day: History

In 2009, New York City inaugurated Mandela Day. The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution on 10 November 2009 designating 18 July as “Nelson Mandela International Day.” This day is commemorated because of his commitment to world peace through his involvement in addressing racial concerns, advancing human rights, and promoting worldwide democracy.

Nelson Mandela is being honored with a number of statues and civic tributes, including a statue in his likeness at Nelson Mandela Square in Johannesburg, South Africa. Nelson Mandela Bridge is also located in Johannesburg. In the past, Nelson Mandela has also been honored with a postage stamp and other musical tributes.

Nelson Mandela International Day Quotes

“We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference.”

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

“Money won’t create success, the freedom to make it will.”

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